PR Miscellany – June 03, 2005

  • The latest installment of Shel and Neville’s ‘For Immediate Release’ podcast (#38) is now online.
  • The former Fleishman-Hillard vice president at the center of the ongoing row with the City of Los Angeles has been charged. He’s pleaded not guilty and claims he’s been made a scapegoat.
  • Interesting bit of positive self-publicity for Ketchum on their 300-strong alumni meeting in Pittsburgh.
  • UK PR impressario Max Clifford has extended his client roster. He’s just been retained to manage the publicity for a British man who is to be freed after eighteen years on death row in Ohio.
  • Todd Defren bemoans the analyst relations circuit and recommends that people think about the audience they’re trying to reach rather than just going through the motions. He’s right, however the reality is that if your client is selling enterprise software, the analysts remain a major influence on the buying process (and the media).

PR and Sport… British and Irish Lions…

It’s often said that you shouldn’t put anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t like being read in a court of law or published on the front page of a newspaper. It would appear that the same applies to internal training videos. You have probably by now read, and possibly seen, the San Francisco 49’ers contentious media training video.

That introduction is a feeble attempt on my behalf to create a segue to the rest of this post which is completely off-topic.

PR is clearly becoming a more important element of professional sport. It’s importance isn’t just for a specific team or player, but good and bad PR reflects the sport as a whole.

This weekend the British & Irish Lions kick-off their much anticipated tour of New Zealand. The Lions are a rugby team (for the unitiated rugby has similarities with American Football but doesn’t have all the advertising breaks or the safety equipment) drawn from the best players from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Every four years, since 1888, these players come together to play a series of matches against New Zealand, Australia or South Africa.

This year’s tour is to the home of world rugby, Andy Lark’s beloved New Zealand.

Rugby only turned professional (officially) twelve years ago and the fear was that traditions such as the Lions would be lost in a climate of professionalism. What’s happened is the opposite, the Lions tour has turned into a massive sporting and commerical event. For example, the Lions jersey is now globally the second best selling replica jersey for Addidas (only second to the Real Madrid soccer team).

They are taking their PR seriously as well. After a number of major faux-pas on the last tour to Australia four years ago, they have brought in arguably one of the best known PR people in Europe, none other than Tony Blair’s beloved Alastair Campbell.

The Lions are a great example of nations putting their differences aside to create a team that mixes different nationalities for a common cause. They travel more in hope than expectation but in the words of former English captain John Pullin:

“We may not be very good, but at least we turn up.”

C’mon the Lions…

PR Miscellany – June 02, 2005

  • You’ve most probably already seen this by now, however Yahoo has released their blog guidelines [PDF][Thanks to Andy Lark]
  • Jim Horton points to an article in Editor and Publisher that looks at how publishers could incorporate a citizen editor into the newsroom.

    “What exactly is a “citizen editor”? “In a lot of ways, it’s unlike any other job in the newsroom,” says Rich Gordon, chair of Newspapers and New Media at Northwestern University’s Medill School and the faculty advisor for, an experimental student-run citizen-journalism website set up to serve the city of Skokie, Ill. “The job isn’t to find stuff out and package it; it’s to solicit other people to provide information and encourage interactivity among your [online] users.””

  • David Parmet highlights the increasing overlap between journalism and blogging. Jeremy Wagstaff was having problems reviewing a Tablet PC and posted them on his blog. Inevitably Robert Scoble comes to the rescue.
  • Jeremy reviewed his initial post after reading Steve Rubel‘s take.

    [Of course it should be pointed out that while all this cross-posting is going on, some poor PR person is probably getting caned for following standard review processes….]

    Jeremy also provides links to some interesting PR-related posts:

  • Do’s and Don’ts of dealing with media online
  • PR Pitches and the foibles of memory
  • How (Not) to Pitch a Blogger
  • Another PR Mis-step
  • If you, like me, still hold a fascination for the excesses of the Dot Bomb era then Deborah Branscum has the perfect link for you. The Business Plan Archive is building a repositiory of the business plans of failed start-ups from the period. It’s fantastic!
  • Meanwhile John Byrne, Editor of Fast Company has come out shooting after reports on the possible demise of the magazine.
  • The Online Journalism Review‘s Mark Glaser has written a very good article on how companies are manipulating search engine rankings. [Thanks to BL Ochman for the link.]

PR Miscellany – June 1, 2005

  • Jeremy Pepper has published an interview with Harris Diamond, CEO of Weber Shandwick.

    “I’m chair of the Council of PR Firms, and I wouldn’t say public relations is under fire. There have been one or two issues that have been raised. The Annenberg Study that has just been released shows that the relationship with the C-level suite for public relations is better than it has ever been.

    As a business, public relations is in very good shape, it is continuing to grow, and we will see more opportunities.

    There are issues, but these are no different than other issues that have come up. I don’t buy into it that there are more problems today than before. There are always spin doctor issues, issues about how PR works – it’s only natural. It’s similar with advertising and other marketing practices. Public relations is in the best shape it’s been in since 2001.”

  • Kerry at the McClenahan Bruer blog highlights a press release issued by American Business Media re-affirming the publishers’ commitment to the division of editorial and advertising. They deserve great credit for coming out at this point.
  • The recent moves by Morgan Stanley and BP make me sick. They are a last desperate attempt at controlling the media. How do they fit their heavy-handed advertorial policies with their Corporate Social Responsibility objectives? I’m sure both organizations have a 300 page manual on how they work with the community – unfortunately these attempts at manipulating the media through advertising dollars show exactly just how committed these institutions are to society.

  • Richard Bailey has some very insightful analysis on why PR students and new practitioners should and shouldn’t blog. It’s a recommended read for anyone considering getting a blog up and running.

  • Off topic: Here’s a research report that was published ten years ago, that in my opinion, never got the publicity it deserved. It analyses one of the most oft-used conversational show stoppers of all time. Comparing Apple and Oranges. [Thanks to Nick Gall for the link]

Welcome to Sales Rep Hell

Organizing analyst meetings is always a very enjoyable exercise. An exercise in patience, planning, faux-surprise and overlapping logisitics.

Recently I had two interesting (paraphrased) responses from two un-named research firms (it goes without saying the communication was from sales reps):

  • 1) Sorry you can’t meet with Analyst X because according to our records you briefed him/her eleven months ago and as you are aware non-clients can only brief a analyst once in any given twelve month period.
  • 2) Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately we never made any progress in working together and our analysts have to keep a balance between client and non-client work. Why don’t you see if there’s an opportunity for us to do some business and come back to me.

We all have to make a living and I have to say (once again) that in my experience, the vast majority of research firms are above board and interested in finding out what’s happening in the market. But I have to ask the question: Are the analysts at these firms as knowedgeable as they should be (from their clients’ perspective) on firstly new technologies and products and secondly on how those products are being used in practice?